Ancient Monuments

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Summerhouse moated site and associated drainage channels, enclosure and field system

A Scheduled Monument in Summerhouse, Darlington

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Latitude: 54.5651 / 54°33'54"N

Longitude: -1.6891 / 1°41'20"W

OS Eastings: 420202.598079

OS Northings: 518914.540674

OS Grid: NZ202189

Mapcode National: GBR JHNN.3B

Mapcode Global: WHC5N.0JZ6

Entry Name: Summerhouse moated site and associated drainage channels, enclosure and field system

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1968

Last Amended: 11 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011265

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20875

County: Darlington

Civil Parish: Summerhouse

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Ingleton

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes a medieval moated site and its related drainage
channels, a rectangular enclosure and part of an adjacent field system. The
monument is situated on level ground immediately adjacent to Summerhouse Beck
and at the southern end of a long village green, now encroached upon by other
buildings. The moated site is rectangular in shape and measures 15m east-west
by 20m north-south within a ditch 10m wide and up to 1m deep. At the south-
western corner of the enclosed island there are the remains of a circular
structure measuring 12m in diameter interpreted as the remains of a tower.
The site has the appearance of a defended manor house situated at one end of
the village green. Adjoining the moated site at its south-eastern corner is a
series of ditches, drainage channels with well defined banks to the outside.
The ditches are 10m wide and the banks survive to a height of 1.5m above the
bottom of the ditches. These channels are placed roughly at right angles to
each other and represent a form of water regulation associated with the moated
site. Immediately to the south of the moated site is a rectangular enclosure,
the remains of a substantial building measuring 23m by 10m within a slight
bank 2m across. The remains of at least two other enclosures, of agricultural
function, lie to the west of the moated site. At the southern end of the site
part of the rig and furrow cultivation of the associated medieval field system
is preserved, apparently bounded by the banks and ditches of the drainage
system. All fences are excluded from the scheduling, as is a small shed at the
western end of the site, but the ground beneath all these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Although a large number of moated sites survive in England relatively few are
known in the northern counties including County Durham. The site at
Summerhouse survives well and features such as the tower suggest it formerly
supported a building of some importance. Additionally, its dominant position
at one end of the village green indicates that it had an important role in the
life of the medieval village.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Surtees, R, The Victoria History of the County of Durham, (1905)
1:2500, Summerhouse, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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